Energy access solutions provider Bboxx is entering into a partnership with French telecoms company Orange. The two companies are launching an initiative to electrify 150,000 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the partnership between Bboxx and Orange is starting with the construction of a mini hybrid solar power plant in Bagira, a council located about ten kilometres from Bukavu, the capital of the province of South Kivu. Equipped with a mini-grid, the solar power plant was built by GoShop, a family business based in Goma. The mini-grid provides electricity to power an Orange telecom tower.
01/07 | Nous avons inauguré notre première Mini-centrale solaire commerciale à Bagira dans le Sud-Kivu.
Ce projet initié par @BBOXX_RDC en collaboration avec @Orange__RDC et #GoShop va contribuer à l’accélération de l’accès à une énergie propre pour les ménages en RD Congo… pic.twitter.com/wTcjpIFEKC
— Bboxx RDC (@BBOXX_RDC) July 1, 2022
According to Bboxx, the new facilities will also connect 600 households in the Bukavu area by the end of 2022. According to Bboxx, “85% of the power will be generated by solar panels, connecting the local community around the telecoms tower to clean energy solutions and services”. The British company intends to work with the National Electrification Agency (ANSER), with whom it is already working to deploy solar home systems in the DRC.
The ABC model
French telecoms company Orange and Bboxx plan to build 24 solar-powered mini-grids to power telecoms towers and 150,000 people across the DRC by 2024. This collaboration will enable the formation of a community based on an ABC (Anchor Business Community) model.
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Bboxx sees this partnership as part of its Connected Community programme, through which the Mansoor Hamayun-led company plans to provide 750 solar-powered mini-grids to connect at least one million homes and small businesses in Africa over the next five years. With this programme, the clean energy provider is diversifying on the African continent.
An agreement for the distribution of solar home systems
The company started its activities in 2010 with the distribution of solar home systems before moving into LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) cooking, which is less polluting than conventional cooking fuels in African cities and rural areas. “This kind of partnership (with Orange) is key to connecting more customers across Africa to essential modern utilities to transform even more lives and ultimately unlock more potential,” says Mansoor Hamayun.
Bboxx also plans to partner with Orange Energy to integrate Orange’s smart meter platform and Bboxx Pulse®, its fully integrated proprietary operating system. According to the UK company, the merging of these technologies will allow for close monitoring of mini-grid performance and remote customer management, including the collection and management of payments through pay-per-use solutions used in the solar home segment.
Jean Marie Takouleu